Apartment Artifact: Framed Succulent Garden

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The sweaty weather this week calls for a porch project! Low labor, easy, cute, and can be done while sipping ice tea. I created a succulent garden to spruce up the patio. This project can be scaled up to make a monster impact piece or down to make a cute center piece. Gather up the following supplies and head out to the patio!

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-Empty Picture Frame

-Plywood, cut 1″ larger than frame opening

-Chicken Wire

-Small Succulents or Cuttings

-Spanish Moss

-Wire Cutters

-Cactus Soil

-Drill and Screws

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I gave my frame a coat of white to make the color of the plants pop. Think of this as a raised flower or garden bed. Flip your frame over.

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If your frame is flat on the back, cut down a 1×1 to fit the around the outside of the frame opening (any hardware store/lumber yard worth it’s mustard can do this for you).

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Nail the boards around the opening leaving a 1/2″ between the edge of the opening and edge of the board. Now you have walls that will hold in the dirt. Sorry there aren’t any pics to illistrate, mine already had the sides built up on it. :)

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CAREFULLY staple the chicken wire to the frame in the gap between the opening the walls.

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Seriously!  BE CAREFUL! A) Staple guns love to destroy fingers, B) Chicken wire is crazy sharp – I highly recommend using gloves when working with it. Okay, lecture  over. Staple away. I didn’t staple down every single little wire but every 2-3 with extras in the corners.

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Now that the chicken wire is secure, you can start building your garden! With your frame still face down laydown a fairly thick layer of spanich moss. This will help to keep the soil in the frame and give the plants some stability. (Update: I used two 250 cu in bags to cover) Spread it out evenly and make sure its a fairly thick layer, mine was about an inch thick in the pic below.

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With frame still facing down, spread Cactus Mix soil in an even coat over the Spanish Moss. This was the most terrifying thing! All I could see was the epic fail of all the dirt falling through and me trying for the next 14 years to get all of the soil off the patio. But the Spanish Moss held strong! Hooray!

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Fill that sucker up! I dumped in my whole bag. You’ll want everything packed in tight if you want to hang this or lean it up against a railing.

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Screw the plywood into the wall boards.  Flip that bad boy over and admire your handy work. (And grab a broom, you’re gonna have a little dirt and moss on the ground.)

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Use your fingers to root around in the moss and dirt to create holes for your plants. To accomidate some of the larger plants I snipped the a few holes of the chicken wire open. This will depend on the size of your plants and chicken wire.

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I planted a random variety of shapes and sizes and will continue to add more as I come across succulents that are unique. Remember that these beauties will grow and spread. Don’t plant too close to each other and consider breaking up plants if they get too large. 

Hope my porch project has you on your way to pick up a hen and chicks!

Michelle is the Director of Operations at Whimseybox.

1 Comment

  • Reply July 11, 2013

    Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    LOVE this! Such a unique way to have a garden! It looks so cool leaning up, I can’t get over it! Time to head to the thrift store to find a funky frame!
    xo ~ Lia

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